Coronavirus: council service information and advice

Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus

Latest news

- Future Fund scheme is open - apply here

- The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is now open - apply here

- New working safely guides for businesses

- Free webinars on how to make your workplace coronavirus secure

- Latest discretionary fund information

- Still time to apply for the small business grant fund or retail, hospitality and leisure grant Please note: this is a grant, not a loan and does not need to be repaid. The grant is not just for closed businesses, businesses who are permitted to remain open are entitled to the payment.

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Please check this page for up-to-date information.

You can contact our dedicated business support line on 023 9284 1641, Monday - Friday from 7am - 7pm.

The government has a dedicated coronavirus business support website to help businesses find out how to access the support that has been made available.

Coronavirus bounce back loan scheme (BBLS)

The government's Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) is available to businesses through a number of accredited lenders across the UK. Businesses can apply online now for interest free loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 - which are 100% underwritten by the government.

The loans are interest and repayment free for the first 12 months, and there won’t be any fees. Look on the British Business Bank website to see who the current lenders are and then apply through a short form on your chosen lenders website. 

Top-up to local business grant funds scheme

The government announced a new discretionary fund to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme. 

The government have stated that the grants can only go to:

  • Businesses with ongoing fixed building-related costs
  • Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the Covid-19 crisis
  • Business with fewer than 50 employees
  • Businesses that were trading on or before 11 March 2020
    We are currently finalising the details and information on how to apply will be added here soon. Please do not call as we have no further information at this stage.

Business support information

Information on grants, loans, funding and support can be found here:

Returning to work after furlough

Our Employment Learning and Skills team can help both employers and employees as people start to plan their return to work after being furloughed.

Employers

We can help you plan how to support your workforce as they return to work following a period of furlough.

We have lots of support available, including:

  • Training needs analysis - we offer one-to-one meetings or group sessions to help you identify key skills needed as business opens up again and explore opportunities to upskill teams or individuals. 
  • Employee development - tailored support for your employees while they're away from work including interview practice, careers advice in challenging times, looking at online training to enhance skills and CPD to use time effectively.

For further information contact 023 9232 2800 or email skills.matching@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Employees

We can also provide information, advice and guidance to support individuals as they prepare to return to the workplace. Some of the activities we offer include:

  • One-to-one sessions to explore your professional goals and to identify activities and training to help you progress.
  • Developing skills while furloughed - complete a skills assessment to help you identify skills gaps in your existing role and find training opportunities to fill them, identify the transferable skills you already have and develop interview skills and job application techniques.
  • Helping you explore other relevant services and support available.

For further information contact 023 9232 2800 or skills.matching@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

National business support

Businesses are advised to check Gov.UK regularly and sign up to their email alerts to make sure they are receiving the most up-to-date information.

Up-to-date information on business support is available via the government's official social media accounts:

 
The government have set up a helpline 0300 456 3565

Support for council business tenants

We know this is a very unsettling time for our tenants and we will try to support you as much as we can during this period, particularly those tenants that are most at risk.

What are you entitled to?

The government has a dedicated coronavirus business support website to help businesses find out how to access the support that has been made available nationally, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply.

Commercial tenant support scheme

We have launched a coronavirus commercial tenant support scheme - apply online to find out what support your business could qualify for.

All non-essential business premises to close

The government has instructed all non-essential premises to close. A list of businesses to close under such guidance can be found online.

If you find a business that shouldn't be open, you can report them online.

Five new ministerial-led taskforces have been set up to develop plans for how and when closed sectors can reopen safely, following publication of the UK’s roadmap to rebuild Britain. Read the announcement here.

Information and guidance:

Businesses that are open - social distancing guidance

The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible during the coronavirus pandemic.

There are eight guides covering a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.

Any public premises which are allowed to remain open must ensure a distance of two metres between customers and shop assistants; and should let people enter the shop only in small groups, to ensure that spaces are not crowded. Queue control is required outside of shops and other essential premises that remain open. The guidance on social distancing in the workplace has been updated to include information for shops running a pick-up or delivery service. Amongst other guidance, it is advised that:

  • Shops should ensure that no orders are taken in person on the premises
  • Shops should only take orders online or by telephone and communicate this to customers by clear signage in store and online.
  • Where customers are collecting items, they should have staggered collection times
  • No goods or food should be physically handed over to the customer.

    Information and guidance:

New guidance for shops running a pick up or delivery service

Working safely - guides for businesses

Critical workers

Guidance has been published by the Government on which workers are classed as "critical".

Bike doctor clinics

For critical workers needing their bikes repaired the bike hub is open every Tuesday. View more information about this

Bike store discounts

To help support key workers across the country get to and from work, cycling organisations are offering a range of free and discounted services. Find out what’s available and which bike stores remain open near you

Charity or local enterprise support

The Charity Bank and Good Finance both have really useful COVID-19 Resource Hubs for Charities and Social Enterprises. Social Enterprise UK also have coronavirus support and resources

Charities and social enterprises may be entitled to financial support through Government grant schemes depending on their rateable value and what their premises are used for - eg charity shops would be classed as retail.

A £370 million government grant has been provided to the National Lottery Community Fund for small and medium-sized charities. The government are also providing a £360 million package of support which will be directly allocated to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis. This will include hospices, St Johns Ambulance, victims charities (including domestic abuse), vulnerable children charities and Citizens Advice.

Food redistribution businesses and charities will be encouraged to bid for grants from a £3.25 million pot, including those whose volunteer programmes have been affected by social distancing measures or those that cannot access their usual commercial support network

Barclays have announced a 100x100 UK COVID-19 Community Relief Programme for charities with an income of over £1 million - apply by 22 May 2020.

Support for creative industries and sports

Read Gov.UK's advice for businesses and employers

Contact us

Can't find what you're looking for? Our business support team have launched a dedicated phone number - 023 9284 1641